Judge Steve Leifman and Leon Evans will discuss cutting-edge community programs developed as part of the national “Stepping Up Initiative” at the seminar.
Bexar County (San Antonio, TX)
In 2013, Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas, was selected to serve as a County Justice and Behavioral Health Systems Demonstration Site. Demonstration sites receive in-depth technical assistance from the CSG Justice Center to pursue goals such as increasing public safety, reducing jail costs, and helping connect individuals with mental and substance use disorders to effective community-based health services.
The leaders from Bexar County’s criminal justice and behavioral health systems have made a strong commitment to collaborate on a data-driven approach to policy development. They had already identified improving mental health services as a top county priority and requested assistance to ensure that existing county investments, as well as several federal grants, were being deployed for the greatest positive impact.
Bexar County officials worked closely with the CSG Justice Center to identify priorities for analysis, review preliminary findings, and develop practical policy recommendations, and this collaborative effort has yielded promising developments. At the end of September, for instance, Bexar County’s district attorney, Susan Reed, launched a new pretrial diversion program.
Hundreds of law enforcement professionals from across the U.S. raised their hands to answer a simple question on Monday: “How many in this group (have) a story – either personal or (professional) – about confronting somebody with a mental health problem?” National Sheriff’s Association Director Jonathan Thompson asked.
A Bexar County specialty court that deals with the mental health needs of girls has received a national award for its innovation and effectiveness serving adolescents in the justice system.